Our new Events Calendar has been a huge success so far, with over 43,000 views in the past month, representing an 85% increase in calendar use compared to last year. We have learned a few things along the way and want to explain a few changes that we have made, along with some best practices, and new features.
Consider the following scenario:
- Career Services adds Career Fair to the calendar
- Many different departments want to put this event on their calendar as it is a very popular event
- Some departments use the Contact Us form to have the event properly added to their own department’s calendar
- Some departments duplicate the event onto their calendar
- We end up with 7 copies of the same event floating around in the system, causing user confusion
- The original event now appears to involve several departments instead of only the originator (in this case, Career Services)
Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Luckily, we have made some adjustments and have developed some ‘best practices‘ to alleviate this common issue.
We added one new field, relabeled another, and added some tooltips.
On the live website, we have relabeled the “Departments” field to be “Subscribing Departments” to better reflect what that field actually means. When you’re listed as a “Subscribing Department”, it only means that you’ve added the event to your department’s calendar. It does not mean you’re involved in the event. On the backend, there is no change. This change is to help users of the calendar website.
We’ve added a “Host” field to better show who is the true/actual host. This field is freeform text, so you could put “Career Services”, “Kinesiology and Biological Sciences” or even “Dial Help” if the event is hosted by an entity off camps. This will help address interdisciplinary events in that multiple hosts can be listed. “Host” is a custom field on the backend.
You can also add important details to the event description. For instance, if it is very important that a department is recognized for putting the event together, you are welcome to add this information to the description.
Best Practice: Adding Existing Events to your Calendar
In our example, Career Services would create the “Career Fair” event. It is understandable that many departments would want to add that event to their calendar as well. Rather than duplicating the event, please click on the event that you want added to your calendar, scroll to the bottom, and click the the “Contact Us” link.
The UMC Digital Services team will make sure that you are added as a Subscribing Department and we can avoid event duplication and the confusing user experience that it can cause.
Not sure if someone has already created an event? Do a quick search using the search box in the header. If an event exists, click on it, use the “Contact Us” link and ask UMC to add it to your calendar. If no event exists, you are free to make your own.
I understand that we will need to make more adjustments along the way, so if there are any questions, concerns or new ideas, you can contact Joel Vertin, Digital Services Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for helping us make this a great services for all of campus and the community!